Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park, Florida

Turning off the Old Kings Highway onto Old Beach Road in Flagler County, Florida, really is like stepping back in time. The dusty, unpaved track seems to shoulder its way between the encroaching trees into what is today Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park.

DSC_0211The road is little changed since the days when wagons used to jostle along it, taking their precious cargos to St. Augustine and, from there, the World beyond.

Old Beach Road

Old Beach Road

At the end of the track is a beautiful spot beside Bulow Creek, where the Bulow family Plantation House once stood.

The foundations of the Bulow Plantation House

The foundations of the Bulow Plantation House

In 1821, Charles Wilhelm Bulow bought the rights to an extensive tract of land in eastern Florida. At 9000 acres, it is believed to have been the largest property in the state, and the 2200 acre Bulow Plantation was its crown jewel.

Bulow Creek

Bulow Creek

Unfortunately, Charles died less than 18 months later, leaving the task of completing the transformation of this wild land into a number of plantations, including Bulow itself, to his son, John Joachim.

One of Bulow's current residents

One of Bulow’s current residents

Another local

Another local

In reality, that’s not quite true. Sadly, this was the time of slavery, and the back-breaking physical work of creating a farmable plantation at Bulow from the thick bush and swamps actually fell to between 300 and 400 slaves. As you walk from where the Plantation House once stood, you pass subtle shapes concealed in the needle-strewn forest floor, which mark out the slaves’ houses.

The path beside the slave houses

The path beside the slave houses

During its heyday, Bulow Plantation produced copious quantities of sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. At the heart of the plantation’s working life, was the massive sugar mill, built of local coquina, a stone comprised of crushed shells. Here the cane would be processed into refined sugar and molasses.

Approaching the sugar mill ruins

Approaching the sugar mill ruins

The chimneys above the fires that used to fuel the refining process

The chimneys above the fires that used to fuel the refining process

The furnace opening is still clearly visible

The furnace opening is still clearly visible

Each of the kettles in this picture contained a different product of the sugar refining process

Each of the kettles in this picture contained a different product of the sugar refining process

However, although prosperous, the Bulow’s tenure in this area was destined to be short-lived. In 1836, the Second Seminole War swept through the area and Bulow Plantation was destroyed, along with many others.

Wagons loaded with sugar and molasses once exited the mill through these doors

Wagons loaded with sugar and molasses once exited the mill through these doors

DSC_0189

IMG_0286Today, all that really remains are the ruins of the sugar mill, which give the State Park its name. They stand as a testament, not only to the strength with which they were built, but also to this important, if difficult and fleeting, episode in Florida’s history.

Trees and Buildings

Trees and Buildings

IMG_0283IMG_0284This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which this week is Buildings and Trees, Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge, which is Appliance (OK, so calling a sugar mill an ‘appliance’ might be stretching it, but it’s all fun, right?), and of course Jo’s Monday Walk.

Me at the sugar mill ruins

Me at the sugar mill ruins

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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17 Responses to Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park, Florida

  1. 1world2feet says:

    Great photos! Looks like a great park.

  2. Thank you for sharing your photos and explaining the history of the time and the place.

  3. Cee Neuner says:

    Thanks for playing. 😀

  4. Whoa this is so great. Thanks so much for sharing. Sugar mill definitely counts – stretch all you want.

  5. Pingback: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge-Buildings-and-Trees | WoollyMuses

  6. restlessjo says:

    The bad old days! Many thanks, Jaspa 🙂 I’ll be walking again on Monday.

  7. travtrails says:

    An interesting place

  8. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Barranco das Lajes | restlessjo

  9. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Armadillo | Jennifer Nichole Wells

  10. Jose Morris-Vega says:

    Nice article, I live 15 minutes away, I go there all the time. Favorite park in the area. Did you see anything you couldn’t explain? If not, keep coming back.

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